Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday: Fall Classic

It's unmistakeably fall around Chicagoland, and in terms of native plants that means it's time for asters and goldenrods.
My two species of goldenrod are in their full glory. Pictured above is elm-leaved goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia), a very underrated species that deserves much more attention by the gardening public at large.Elm-leaved goldenrod grows in part shade and mine have been admirably drought tolerant. They're reached about 2' tall but are not aggressive, weedy-looking, or otherwise poorly behaved. I love their arching flower stalks; they remind me of comets gracefully crossing the night sky.

And they look great with shade-tolerant ex-asters, big-leaved aster (Eurybia macrophylla). These have been blooming for about six weeks and are finally starting to slow down. Together they've made a wonderful combination in dry shade.

Smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)...

...and Short's aster (S. shortii) are also blooming, and as you can see they share an extremely similar lavender hue.Short's aster is another little-known-but-should-be-better-known wildflower. Like the elm-leaved goldenrod, they're happy in part shade and dry conditions. True to their name they only reach about 2' tall so they don't flop like many taller asters (although in today's rain mine did admittedly droop a bit). I was hoping to get a little more crossover in the bloom times between the Short's aster and my yellow coneflowers (Ratbida pinnata), but these are late bloomers so no luck. Still, they're bringing badly needed blooms to the fall garden!

All of the wildflowers seen here are hardy for zones 4-ish to 8-ish. For more wonderful wildflowers this Wednesday, visit Gail at Clay and Limestone.


Rose said...

I've never heard of elm-leaved goldenrod, but it certainly has a pretty shape. And to think, just a few short years ago, I thought goldenrod was a weed:)

I am so impressed that you can identify all your asters, Rose, or should I say, ex-asters. Those and all the rudbeckias are difficult for me to distinguish, so I just enjoy their blooms!

Gail said...

Rose, That is a cool goldenrod, but, then I think they all are even the aggressive ones. Love your other September blooms, too. Happy WW....gail

Patrick's Garden said...

You indeed have fall classic on your hands. Was surprised to hear these plants are shade tolerant. I'm sure it slows them down a bit but that's a good thing when they can get out out of control in better light.

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